Spotting The Evidence: How to Develop Evidence-based Dentistry Skills

by Shadi Samawi

“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”   ~ Christopher Hitchens

As dental professionals interested in life-long learning and improvement, developing our competency in assessing the “evidence” presented in various dental research articles, journals and texts that we may encounter – and in fact, should be seeking ourselves! – is an essential and indispensable skill.

However, not all “evidence” is created equal. There is a lot of information published  these days that is presented in a sophisticated, orderly manner, but under the surface and at closer inspection, clearly provides little or weak evidence of what it’s supposed to research. It is imperative that we learn the necessary principles and skills of how to read, interpret and properly assess such texts before taking the information presented at face value, as ” Simply facts”.

There are many resources that can help in developing such skills, and one such resource is the article by Kiriakou et al  published in Progress in Orthodontics, entitled: “Developing evidence-based dentistry skills: how to interpret randomized clinical trials and systematic reviews(Kiriakou et al. Progress in Orthodontics 2014, 15:58). This paper clearly and simply explains how one should go about understanding and assessing the various research presented in published articles, particularly in Randomized Clinical Trials (RCTs) and Systematic Reviews – both of which rate very high on the Hierarchy of Evidence Scale, providing a considerable amount of solid evidence, if performed properly.

Developing evidence-based dentistry skills: how to interpret randomized clinical trials and systematic reviewsIt is a highly recommended read on the topic and as it is published in Progress in Orthodontics – an Open Access Journal – It can be accessed by following this link.

I would love to read your ideas regarding Evidence-based Dentistry skills and development, by sharing your thoughts and resources in the comments section below.

Happy reading!